STRENGTH IN NUMBERS 150 150 Lauren Ellerman

What if one employee says to their employer, “I am not signing this non-compete. It is unfair, over broad and I will not sign it.”

Do you think the employer will negotiate?
Be reasonable?
Try to make amends?

NOPE. Neither do I.

I think the employer will say – “fine, sign and stay. Refuse and pack your bags.”

But what if 3 key employees say – “We respect your need to protect your business and will agree to confidentiality agreement, however, we cannot agree not to work in our industry for 3 years. Please help us by amending this language.”

Do you think the employer may be tempted to negotiate? Make 3 employees happy over losing 3 employees?

I think so. At least, I am hopeful.

Under Virginia law – if you sign a non-compete, you have to assume you are bound by the terms until a judge either says it is NOT BINDING, or your employer gives you a release. So why sign something you know you can’t live with? Why not try to come to a compromise where everyone wins?

Why not? Because it is scary to ask for what you want. And scary to risk losing your job. But isn’t it scarier to live knowing you could get fired tomorrow, and couldn’t work for years or be forced to spend thousands on litigation?

About the author

Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at

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